Below are some of the Important facts related to F-1 Visa.
1. Visa issuance is a very objective decision, and is not subjective: –
Every visa official has a list of requirements he looks for in a visa application. If they are met, then, he issues the visa. If not, he doesn’t. It is how these requirements are met that makes a visa decision seem subjective. For instance, take the requirement of showing that you will return to India. If you provide unambiguous pragmatic evidence pointing to reasons for return, he will have no reason not to grant a visa. US Visa Official Quote: “Give a rational, objective reason that even a banker would believe”. If, on the other hand, you only play with words and have nothing substantial to show, it looks like a subjective decision, since it is based upon subjective evidence.
2. Proper documents are only half the story: –
Visa officials know that documents in India can be easily forged. So what is on paper is not enough. What you say, how you say it, matters a lot. Sometimes it can even make up for inadequate documentation. US Visa Official Quote: “Some people complain that we did not see their documents. Remember, if we go through your documents when you are standing there, then that is a negative sign. It means we don’ t believe you and are checking the documents for proof or for grounds to reject you. So not seeing your documents in front of you is a good thing for you.”
3. Success Rates of Visa: –
Success Rates of Visa Issuance (overall) is 60 %. i.e. 60% of all applicants, across all categories, are issued visas. 40 % are rejected.
Success Rates of specific Visas:
- J1 Visa – 75 %
- F1 Visa – 65 %
- M1 Visa – 35 %
US Visa official Quote: “People who are between 18 and 37 and single attract our attention”.
4. How to increase your chances of Success?
A. Legitimate Student: –
Show that you have a coherent plan of study. e.g. B.A. English in undergrad in India then MS in Computer Science in US is not a coherent plan. B.E. Electronics & Communications then M S (Telecommunications) is very clearly coherent. Also, try linking the plan of study to India. There should be a connection between past study and future plan.
B: Reputation of School
The better the ranking of the school that you finally choose, the higher your chances of getting a visa. Visa officials have actually been quoted saying that they never cancelled the visa application of a Harvard or Stanford student (they don’ t even look at anything else if he has a Harvard offer). Of course, everybody doesn’ t get Harvard, but then if you choose an obscure university, your chances of a visa decrease correspondingly, as suspicion about your choice rises. The official thinks, “he’ s going there only to get to the US, there are better univs than this in India”.
C: Exclusiveness of course:
If the course chosen is not offered in India, then it is a positive sign – as long as you can still show that it is logically related to your past studies. So you can’ t choose Evangelism after a BSc Chem. and then say, “it’ s not offered in India”. Well, actually, you can but you have to show compelling reason why you want that subject.
D: Evidence of having researched all options:
Show all schools that you chose (say, printouts of web sites, Photostats of brochures), show clearly which ones you short listed and why, which ones you got offers from, which ones you chose and why. Basically, show yourself as a thorough student.
E: Proper documentation of previous study:
Have original copies of Board certificates, college degrees, diplomas, extra courses, etc. Also have original results of GRE, A-GRE TOEFL, TSE and other standardized tests handy.
F: Show proof of networking (if any) with professors:
If you have sent mails to(or written to) professors, have copies of the mails ready to show, to establish seriousness of intent to study and to show that you consider your education as an investment.
G: Multiple Offers:
If you have received offers from many universities, show that. Especially if you have a scholarship offer from a lower ranked university and are still going to a higher one, then attach proof of this with your application.
H: Be Systematic:
Carry a folder with the covering letter and all these papers in order, so that (a) you don’ t fumble around in front of the counter window looking for the right papers (b) you look systematic and thorough.